This Week's Focus Passage

This Week’s Focus Passage: Luke 8:26-36 ‘And he gave them leave. And the demons came out of the man.

This Week’s Focus Passage: Luke 8:26-36

‘And he gave them leave. And the demons came out of the man.’

    We may read in our copies of God’s Word, this passage found in Luke’s gospel, and verses 8:26-36. This particular narrative is found in all three of those gospels which have been denominated, the Synoptic Gospels. [“the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are referred to as the synoptic gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in a similar sequence and in similar or some-times identical wording. They stand in contrast to John, whose content is largely dis-tinct. The term synoptic comes from the Greek synopsis, i.e. “seeing all together, three gospels, of “giving an account of the events from the same point of view or under the same general aspect.”]. Now it must be allowed that there is what might be called, a discrepancy between the three, in that Matthew speaks of two demoniacs while Mark and Luke speak of only one. There are many varied explanations for this. J. C. Ryle’s thoughts toward it may be satisfactory, or they may not; he has written:

“I venture to suggest that the reason that Mark and Luke only mention one, is the fact that only one of the two asked to be allowed to remain with our Lord, after he was healed, and only one ultimately became a witness to the Lord in the country of the Gadarenes. Mark and Luke only describe the case which was most remarkable.” 

And they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is over against Galilee. And when he was come forth upon the land, there met him  maya certain man out of the city, who had demons; and for a long time he had worn no clothes, and abode not in any house, but in the tombs. And when he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I beseech thee, torment me not. For he was commanding the unclean spirit to come out from the man. For oftentimes it had seized him: and he was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters; and breaking the bands asunder, he was driven of the demons into the deserts. And Jesus asked him, What is thy name? And he said, Legion; for many demons were entered into him. And they entreated him that he would not command them to depart into the abyss. Now there was there a herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they entreated him that he would give them leave to enter into them. And he gave them leave. And the demons came out from the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd rushed down the steep into the lake, and were drowned. And when they that fed them saw what had come to pass, they fled, and told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what had come to pass; and they came to Jesus, and found the man, from whom the demons were gone out, sitting, clothed and in his right mind, at the feet of Jesus: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them he that was possessed with demons was made whole.                                   —Luke 8:26-36 [ASV-1901]

A question that has been asked again and again is ‘Why our Lord permitted these devils to go into the swine which resulted in the destruction of the animals?’ One suggestion involves the fact that swine are, in the law, among the animals that are to be considered unclean, [Leviticus 11:7-8; And the swine, because he parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, but cheweth not the cud, he is unclean to you. Of their flesh ye shall not eat, and their carcasses ye shall not touch; they are unclean unto you.]. It is, at the very least, interesting, that, in our text, as in most instances in the Word, when demons are spoken of, they are referred to as ‘unclean spirts.’ So that, in point of fact, Jesus, when conceding to the request of these demons, was commanding the ‘unclean’ to go and enter into the unclean. But then, they were, all of the swine, destroyed. Lenski has written, for our consideration, that, in his view, there is no question that these ‘swine-keepers’ were Jews, and therefore, their keeping swine was a blatant and conspicuous act against the law of Jehovah, as we referred to it above. This may be the reason for their meeting destruction.

This could well provide a pertinent lesson for believers in any time or place, with regard to our use of the things of this world. Perhaps, we might be behaving more like these keepers of swine than we would wish to admit; keeping something that God would not have us to possess. We could expect that these ‘swine-herders’ would be ‘at the ready’ to justify’ their keeping of swine. And perhaps others are equally ‘at the ready; to justify many things that deeper examination might prove incapable of our justification. Must we not admit, that more often than not, we are much too easy on ourselves, in many matters? May our God help us to be much more faithful in our self-examination; may we become much less biased in our own favor, and know what it is to truly search our hearts, calling upon our Father to join in that search, that we might cry with the sincerity of David, in his Psalm 139:23 and 24: 

Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

We might say that Paul has responded to this searching with something of an answer. In his epistle to the church at Philippi, we may read the following exhortation from his pen to our eyes, and hearts. Please read with sincere desire that God the Holy Spirit Himself would take the counsel of the Apostle to the Gentiles, not writing upon phylacteries for foreheads, but upon the phylacteries of our hearts. We may read from Philippians, and the fourth chapter, particularly verses eight and eleven:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. And adding to that eighth verse, the eleventh:

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content.


David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church   


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